Report: The 2026 World Cup has been expanded to include 4 groups, 104 total matches

Report: The 2026 World Cup has been expanded to include 4 groups, 104 total matches
March 14, 2023

The expanded 2026 World Cup will embody teams of 4 groups and 104 matches in whole, in response to Matt Slater and David Ornstein from The Athletic.

FIFA is ready to formally endorse and announce the format of the mega occasion throughout a council assembly Tuesday in Kigali, Rwanda. The Males’s World Cup has been a 64-match match since 1998.

Slater and Ornstein added that the match, which is being hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico, is predicted to happen over 39 days. Already the most important World Cup in historical past with its enlargement from 32 to 48 taking part nations, it’ll now be the longest ever.

FIFA initially deliberate to make use of 16 teams of three groups, with the highest two nations from every division advancing to the 32-team knockout spherical. Below this format, the match would have featured 80 matches in all.

However issues in regards to the unique plans for 2026 have compelled FIFA to rethink its method, particularly after the ultimate set of matches within the four-team group format on the newest version in Qatar produced constant drama and pleasure.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has confirmed in Qatar that the board is contemplating altering the 2026 format which was beforehand green-lit in 2017.

Utilizing teams of solely three groups would eradicate simultaneous group finals, a typical function of the World Cup, and would create a chance for 2 groups to collide if each wanted a set outcome of their final group match, simply as West Germany and Austria did. Within the notorious 1982 match dubbed the “Shame of Gij√≥n”.

With the 48 groups divided into fours, the eight finest third-place finishers will be a part of the 2 finest groups from every group within the knockout stage.

To facilitate the inclusion of extra video games with out sweeping changes to the schedule, FIFA will scale back the pre-tournament preparation interval from 23 to 16 days, in response to Slater and Ornstein.

It’s unclear how the distribution of matches between the three host nations might be adjusted; America was scheduled to host 60 matches within the earlier format, and Canada and Mexico every delivered 10 matches.

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